Cartoon by Akram Raslan
The death of cartoonist Akram Raslan is once again being discussed, this time by Cartoonists Rights Network International ( CRNI ) citing the Syrian magazine Souriatna as a source, reports that Akram reportedly died in a prison hospital sometime in the spring of 2013 due to his fragile state of health, possibly as a result of torture in prison.
Akram Raslan, born in Souran (Syria) in 1978, was arrested on 2 October 2012, since when only rumours have circulated about his legal situation, whereabouts and status.
He was reportedly arrested by military intelligence elements because of cartoons critical of Bashar al-Assad posted on Facebook, some sources said he had been accused of espionage and was arrested by agents of Bashar al-Assad’s government at the offices of the newspaper Al-Fida’a in the city of Hama.
In October 2013, reports circulated in some media and blogs that Arkram had been killed, although no one was able to confirm these reports at the time as they were based on rumours and there was no concrete source.
Reporters Without Borders claims to have confirmed his death, although their sources are unknown and do not provide any information beyond what is already known.
Others cite a witness, whose identity is unknown.
On the trail
On 13 June 2014 CRNI the Syrian permanent mission to the UN, through the Syrian permanent mission to the UN, became aware of the response to a UN request on Akram’s situation. It was then confirmed that he had been arrested for publishing cartoons and accused of “offending the prestige of the state” and that he was still under investigation by the “competent authority”.
The situation in Syria is not the best for confirming this type of news.
23/09/2015 ANSA news agency cites sources from the cartoonist’s family to report his death.
BEIRUT, 23 (ANSA) – Syrian cartoonist Akram Arslan, arrested three years ago by the control services in Hama, was killed under torture, sources in the 41-year-old artist’s family reported.
According to Syrian media, family members confirmed the death of Arslan, who was arrested in October 2012 for his work critical of the regime and tortured in a cell at the National Security in Damascus.
In 2013, a cellmate of the cartoonist claimed – as soon as he was released – that Arslan had died under torture, but there was no confirmation at the time.
In the same year, the New York-based Cartoonists’ Rights Network awarded Arslan the prize reserved for the “bravest” artist.
His release was strongly demanded by colleagues around the world.
Originally from the Hama region in the centre of the country, Arslan had studied literature at Damascus University and worked for several Arab newspapers. (ANSA). Z10/MRZ
On 2 October 2015, cartoonist Michael Cavna also wonders if Akram is still alive after three years in captivity.
Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan was detained 3 years ago today. The question now: Is he even alive? (Source)
In any case, no further details of his death, no photographs or documents have emerged to support this theory, leaving some, largely motivated by a desire to keep him alive, to question this information.
In January 2015, copies of the Syrian magazine Souriatna, which announced Akram’s death, were burnedallegedly by members of Ahrar al-Shamthe magazine, for supporting Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in its pages, declaring itself “Je Suis Charlie”.
Vignette gallery by Akram Raslan in Cartoon Movement.
Some Raslan cartoons on a page of the Damascus-based magazine Souriatna.
Related: More than 100 cases in different countries.